University Increases Tree-Sitters' Rations
Thursday, July 10, 2008
Category: News > University
The ragtag coalition of tree-sitters who have been nesting in the oak grove near UC Berkeley's Memorial Stadium for 19 months began receiving increased rations from the campus yesterday after officials determined that the protesters' supplies were running low.
It has been more than a week since the campus began to supply the barricaded and fenced-off tree-sitters with energy bars and nearly three weeks since UCPD and a crew of arborists removed the supplies of the protesters in an attempt to force them to vacate the grove.
The tree-sitters, who aim to prevent 44 trees from being cut down by the campus to make way for a proposed athletic center, will now receive 1,800 calories worth of energy bars instead of the 1,200 calories they received previously.
The tree-sitters gained a new grove-mate this weekend, after distracted UCPD officers failed to prevent a man known only as "Jeff" from scaling into the grove.
"It's very difficult to hermetically seal the area," said Dan Mogulof, UC Berkeley's executive director of public affairs.
Jeff ascended the trees a few hours after a message was posted on a community activism Web site asking for a "ninja" to accept a "mission" to reinforce the dwindling tree-sitter population.
Last week, four of the seven remaining protesters descended from the grove, including the outspoken "Dumpster Muffin."
The post, which appeared on indybay.org, was authored by a user named "Jeff Muskrat" and called for members of the public to climb into the grove to aid the tree-sitters' efforts.
"This is a call for 'Ninja's' with climbing experience to break the lines and sneak into the grove," the user stated in the post.
The tree-sitter Jeff would not say if he authored the post, though he said that he had heard of Muskrat.
Jeff said he has been involved in forestry activism for several years. He would not say whether he has occupied other tree-top roosts in similar protests.
Campus officials said the increased calorie count is intended to keep the tree-sitters from suffering any permanent health damage.
"It's a delicate balance, because we want them to come down as soon as possible, but we don't want them to be hurt," Mogulof said.
Ashley Trott is an assistant news editor. Contact her at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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